Saturn's Rings As A Cosmic Rainbow

Saturn's Rings as a Cosmic Rainbow

You've never seen Saturn's rings like this before. Captured using Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph detector, it shows the rings in the ultraviolet spectrum — and the result is incredibly colourful.

The image shows the portion of the C-ring closest to Saturn on the left, with the B-ring beginning just right of center. Incidentally, the rings were named in the order in which they were discovered, using the first seven letters of the alphabet: the D-ring is closest to the planet, followed by C, B, A, F, G and E. The different colours are a result of different constituents in the rings. Areas that are turquoise contain particles of nearly pure water ice; reddish rings contain ice particles with more contaminants. [ESA]